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Belyaeva L.E., Fedchenko A.N., Lazuko S.S., Ligetskaya I.V.
The introduction of fish oil in the diet of pregnant rats restricts the severity of their offsprings’ behaviour disorders due to the effect of stressors in the prenatal period
Educational Establishment «Vitebsk State Order of Peoples’ Friendship Medical University», Vitebsk, Republic of Belarus

Vestnik VGMU. 2016;15(1):27-36.

Objectives. To determine the influence of fish oil administered to pregnant rats while modelling in them chronic unpredictable stress on their offsprings’ behaviour in different age periods.
Material and methods. The experiments were carried out on 4-month pregnant rats (n=40) divided into the «control» and «stress» groups. Each of these groups was further subdivided into two subgroups of animals. Experimental groups included animals, which received intragastrically 0,2 ml of the starch solution as a gavage once a day during the whole period of pregnancy, and rats receiving the equivalent volume of fish oil containing eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids at the daily dose of 60 mg/kg. Chronic unpredictable stress was modelled by food deprivation during one day with the provision of free access to water on the 2nd, the 9th and the 16th days of pregnancy; upright immobilization of rats in the plastic box filled with water (t=23±2°C) up to the level of the neck during 20 minutes on the 4th and the 11th days of pregnancy; the imitation of a predator presence (contact with Felis excrements during one day) on the 6th and the 13th days of pregnancy. After the delivery of offsprings the maternal cannibalism level was assessed during 10 days. Then the behaviour of the offsprings was studied in the «open field» test at the age of 1 and 3 months.
Results. Under the influence of fish oil the maternal cannibalism level in the «control» and «stress» groups decreased from 5,1% to 1,4% and from 34,1% to 4,9%, respectively. Prenatally stressed rats’ offsprings were more passive and demonstrated increased levels of anxiety and emotionalism as well as lower exploratory activity in the «open field» test. Fish oil administration to the «stress» group rats during pregnancy significantly limited the severity of the behavioural changes of the prenatally stressed offsprings both at the age of 1 month and 3 months, especially in female rats.
Conclusions. The introduction of fish oil to pregnant female rats from the «stress» group considerably limits the development of stress-related behavioural disorders in their offsprings. The efficacy of such fish oil administration is higher in prenatally stressed female rats than in male ones.
Key words: prenatal stress, fish oil, «open field» test.


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